Dougherty earned her Ph.D. from the Theatre and Performance of the Americas Program at Arizona State University. Her doctoral dissertation research examines the interstices of post-coloniality and performance in the production of the Americas, focusing on using theatre – specifically Suzan-Lori Parks' The America Play – as a methodology for understanding and mapping linguistic and spatial borders of America. That understanding shows how theatre (and one play in particular) can teach about the ways people produce and map shared histories.
As a director and voice coach, Dougherty's work with young actors focuses on the role of voice and speech and identity construction. A voice and speech teacher, she is a practitioner of the Lessac approach and has attended two intensives from the Lessac Training and Research Institute, where she studied with founder Arthur Lessac. Dougherty has voice-coached contemporary and classic works including Venus (directed by Laurie Carlos) and Romeo and Juliet (directed by Victoria Holloway) at Arizona State University as well as Much Ado About Nothing, A Midsummer Night's Dream, and Romeo and Juliet at Sleepy Lion Theatre in Beveryl, Mass. In addition to her work in voice and speech, Dougherty is a director and dramaturge. Her favorite directing projects include Devotees in the Garden of Love (by Suzan-Lori Parks) and Antígona Furiosa (by Griselda Gambaro).
She has taught courses in voice and speech, theatre history, dramatic literature, theatre for social change, studies in theatre for youth, oral interpretation, and creative drama at Arizona State University, Illinois State University, and Drew University. Her research also includes investigations of gender, race, and the complicitous dynamic between audience and performer in neo-burlesque performance. Dougherty's work has been published in Theatre Journal and The Humanities Review.
Dougherty also has contributed chapters to the forthcoming books Playing with Theory in Theatre Practice and Festivals of the Americas. She regularly presents her research at international and national conferences and is an active member of The Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics, the American Society for Theatre Research, the International Federation for Theatre Research, Performance Studies International, the Association for Theatre in Higher Education, the Mid-America Theatre Conference, and the Voice and Speech Teacher's Association.
During her studies at Arizona State University, Dougherty was awarded the Graduate College Dissertation Fellowship at Arizona State University, the Graduate and Professional Student Association Teaching Excellence Award, and numerous travel grants.